By Udi Shaham-JPOST.COM STAFF
Joint List lawmakers blame Israeli prime minister for deaths of three Palestinians in clashes. Protests break out in the Gaza Strip.
“The government’s brutal actions at the Al-aksa Mosque, changing the status quo by placing metal detectors, will necessarily lead to a third Intifada, that already began today,” Joint List Member of Parliament Taleb Abu Arar, said Friday afternoon. The lawmaker warned of a major Palestinian uprising and accused the police of killing three Palestinians in clashes following weekly prayers in Jerusalem.
“Those who initiated the violence and killed three Palestinians were the Israeli police,” he said.
MK Ahmad Tibi, also from the Joint List party, said that the responsibility to the clashes to those who died is the government and its head, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Netanyahu said that in Mecca there are metal detectors. But Mecca is not under occupation, al-Quds [Jerusalem] is,” he said.
“Our Jerusalem is Arabic, Islamic, Palestinian,” he added.
Haneen Zoabi, Jamal Zahalaka and Osama Saadi were among the attending MKs.
Protests were relatively limited around Jerusalem and the West Bank, after Israeli security forces spread out in large numbers in anticipation of widespread rioting.
Muslim leaders and Palestinian political factions had urged the faithful to gather for a “day of rage” on Friday against the new security policies, which they see as changing delicate agreements that have governed the holy site for decades.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein posted on Twitter two screenshots from videos of Arab MKs from Friday and wrote: “This is a shame! It is a shame that the precious time of our security forces is being wasted.”
Access to the shrine for Muslims was limited to men over 50 but open to women of all ages. Roadblocks were in place on approach roads to Jerusalem to stop buses carrying Muslims to the site.
At one location near the Old City, stone throwers did try to break through a police line, and police used stun grenades to drive them back.
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said four officers were injured in the sporadic clashes and the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said at least 377 protesters had been hurt, some suffering from tear gas inhalation.
Protests also broke out in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Israeli military, dozens of Palestians were burning tires and throwing rocks at troops along the border fence. The soldiers returned fire towards the instigators.
“Today we are acting to bring the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem back into the embrace of the the Arab World,” Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said during his weekly sermon in Gaza. “We shall not enter the Temple Mount through metal detectors.”